Ardee-born author Ruth Fitzmaurice has been named the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year at tonight’s Bord Gais Irish Book Awards.
Ruth, who released her debut earlier this year, beat off very strong competition in the category to take home the illustrious prize.
Lisa Harding (Harvesting), Sally Rooney (Conversations with Friends), Karl Geary (Montpelier Parade), Blindboy Boatclub of The Rubberbandits (The Gospel According to Blindboy in 15 Short Stories) and Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling – The Novel) were the other nominees in the category.
I Found My Tribe was released during the summer and was the number one bestselling book in the country for a number of weeks, whilst it also garnered critical acclaim upon it’s release.
The book is romantic, honest, dark and funny too. It tells the story of how Ruth coped with the decline of her husband Simon’s health – having been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2008, he passed away last month – her family life and her coping measures when faced with the challenges it all brought. She would eventually find her tribe.
The Sunday Times called I Found My Tribe, “One of the year’s most arresting, humbling and acute memoirs. It is a catch-in-the-throat, life-affirming work that you want to gulp down in one and recommend to all your friends. Fitzmaurice tells her story in sparkling prose that is as sinewy as her new sea-strengthened body, and as admirable and boundless as her spirit’.
A native of Ardee, Ruth is the daughter of David and Pat O’Neill. She grew up in the family home on the Carrick Road, where her father originally operated his doctors’ surgery.
The voting for all categories at the Irish Book Awards was open to the public, with a specialist Academy vote also contributing to the results.
Among the other winners on the night were Marian Keyes, Rory O’Connell, BBC journalist Fergal Keane and actor, comedian and children’s author David Walliams who won an International Recognition Award.